Last month’s temperature leap of 1.35 degrees C was the highest in modern history, scientists report. Experts deemed the latest temperature spike a “shocker,” while they also cautioned that we may be in the midst of a “climate emergency.”
According to NASA, February saw the highest temperature spike in a century as the month was 1.35 degrees C warmer than its long-term mean temperature, i.e. the one calculated for the 1951-1980 period. Scientists described the rise as both “unprecedented” and “stunning.”
The recent record shattered a previous one set in January, which saw a temperature spike of 1.15 degrees C.
“Nasa dropped a bombshell of a climate report,”
wrote two weather experts from Weather Underground, Bob Henson and Jeff Masters.
The two researchers were shocked by the sudden jump of 0.21 degrees C in the average monthly temperature from January to February. The team described the leap “extraordinary,” saying that the result was a “true shocker.”
Henson and Masters added that we are heading at a “frightening pace” towards the worst-case-scenario of the 2 degree rise in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels. According to the December climate summit, that threshold should by no means be passed, as the limit is critical for climate change.
World leaders are currently setting in place strategies to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C. The effects of global warming can be observed as years go by. For instance, last year broke the record for the warmest year since records began in 1850.
Experts currently expect this year to set a new record, as well. If that happens, the yearly temperature record will have been shattered three straight years.
Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies could only say “wow” when he saw the new record. He noted that while we may not be aware of it, we must be in a “climate emergency.”
Bob Ward, a climate scientist at the London School of Economics’ Research Institute on Climate Change, deemed the spike “worrying.” He couldn’t help but noting that since October each month was warmer than any prior month.
Ward believes that this is a clear sign that we are approaching the 2 degrees C limit. He explained that beyond that limit the effects of global warming will be probably “very dangerous.”
Yet, some scientists think that the recent temperature records may be partially due to an El Niño event, which was described as the strongest in the last 18 years.
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